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Thread: Consumer Report: GM VOLT "Doesn't Make A Lot of Sense"

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    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
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    Default Consumer Report: GM VOLT "Doesn't Make A Lot of Sense"

    Thought this would be interesting to Blackstone.

    Consumer Reports: GMís Volt Ďdoesnít really make a lot of senseí

    DAVID SHEPARDSON
    Detroit News Washington Bureau

    Washington ó Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.'s flagship vehicle makes economic "sense."The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue ó the influential magazine's annual survey of vehicles ó but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.

    "When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."

    The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.

    GM spokesman Greg Martin noted that it's been an extremely harsh winter ó and as a Volt driver he said he's getting 29-33 miles on electric range. But he noted that in more moderate recent weather, the range jumped to 40 miles on electric range or higher.

    Champion believes a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, may make more sense for some trips.

    "If you drive about 70 miles, a Prius will actually get you more miles per gallon than the Volt does," Champion said.

    But GM has noted that most Americans can avoid using gasoline for most regular commuting with the Volt, while its gasoline engine can allow the freedom to travel farther, if needed.

    The magazine has put about 2,500 miles on its Volt. It paid $48,700, including a $5,000 markup by a Chevy dealer.

    Champion noted the Volt is about twice as expensive as a Prius.

    He was said the five hour time to recharge the Volt was "annoying" and was also critical of the power of the Volt heating system.

    "You have seat heaters, which keep your body warm, but your feet get cold and your hands get cold," Champion said.

    Consumer Reports will release a full road test of the Volt later this year and will update it.

    Champion praised the heater on the all-electric Nissan Leaf - which Consumer Reports borrowed from the Japanese automaker -- but said it also got very short ranges in very cold weather.

    On one commute, his range in a Leaf was at 43 miles when he turned onto an eight-mile stretch of highway, but it fell from 43 to 16 miles after eight miles at 70 mph.

    "If it keeps on going down at this rate, will I get to work," Champion said.

    Champion said in an interview he thinks the Volt "will sell the quantity that they want to sell to the people that really want it."

    Despite his criticism of the Volt, Champion praised its acceleration and acknowledged that under certain driving cycles, consumers could mostly avoid using gasoline. The magazine noted the Volt is nicely equipped and has a "taut yet supple ride."

    But he said there are a lot of trade-offs.

    "They are going to live with the compromises the vehicle delivers," Champion said. "When you look at it from a purely logical point of view, it doesn't make an awful lot of sense."

    Before Consumer Reports decides whether to recommend the Volt, it needs data from at least 100 subscribers who own one, and a year of reliability data.
    Bill Davis

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    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    "Middle of the road independents" just stick their fingers in their ears and sing "lalalalala."

    They don't hear this stuff........


    RK
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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    "Middle of the road independents" just stick their fingers in their ears and sing "lalalalala."

    They don't hear this stuff........


    RK
    Why are you so fascinated with what MOTRIs think and feel? Maybe if you would listen more with your ears instead of your mouth, you'd hear this MOTRI (and others I'm sure) say he doesn't like the Volt, and AGREES with the article. Wow.

    There goes the whole classification scheme!
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    Senior Member M&K's Retrievers's Avatar
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    I can't imagine their being a large market willing to put up with the inconvenience and the cost of the Volt. GM's Edsel?
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    Senior Member huntinman's Avatar
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    I heard that most of their sales have been to gov't agencies. I also have secondhand knowledge of a bunch of gov't owned hybrids on a nearby military base that just sit on the lots because the gov't employees don't even want to drive them.
    Bill Davis

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    Senior Member Franco's Avatar
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    GM should stick to only building trucks and SUV's with a goal of better MPG's.

    No way can they compete against the Asian auto mfg's. who don't have to hire over-priced union labor with little to zero pride in their workmenship. It would take decades to overcome GM's image in the passenger car business of building poorly styled and poorly crafted automobiles and the American tax payer will revolt before we bail them out again!
    The Libertarian Party believes that all persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. A call for the repeal of the income tax, abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We support the passage of a "Balanced Budget Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes. LP.org

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    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Kind of interesting ... due to the cost of the vehicle $48,700, 2X as much as the Prius ... only someone with bucks who drives shorter distances ... can afford to have one.

    Let's not be too hard on those people in higher tax brackets ... they'll have to buy a Prius instead of a Volt!
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    I did find the article interesting, and some of the comments a bit curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    "When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good . . . .
    As compared to what other electric vehicle? There are only a couple of others on the market, and they donít do any better, and some donít do as well. So what is he comparing it to?

    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.
    Either he was driving in sub-zero temps all the time, in hilly conditions, or he has poor driving habits (jack rabbit starts & hard stops) that caused him to put more demand on the battery. Like I said, I drove one in temps that were never above 10 degrees, and I still got about 35 miles on a charge. What he also failed to mention is that Prius has a battery too, and its fuel economy suffers quite a bit in cold weather as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    Champion believes a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, may make more sense for some trips.

    "If you drive about 70 miles, a Prius will actually get you more miles per gallon than the Volt does," Champion said.
    Thatís curious. The EPA rates Voltís fuel economy at 69 mpg at 75 miles. Also, Prius, at 50 mpg would use about 1.4 gallons of gas. For the same trip, Volt would go the first 40 miles on a charge and the next 30 with the gas engine. At 40 mpg with the gas engine, the Volt would use about .75 gallons. So, which vehicle is more fuel efficient on this hypothetical 70 mile trip?

    Prius The magazine has put about 2,500 miles on its Volt. It paid $48,700, including a $5,000 markup by a Chevy dealer.

    Champion noted the Volt is about twice as expensive as a Prius.[/QUOTE]

    To get to that price, they would have had to pay MSRP plus a $5,000 premium to the dealer. First of all, who would pay MSRP for any vehicle. Second, why would anyone pay another $5,000 over that? That would mean this dealer made about $9,000 on that sale. I bet the dealer had a hard time keeping a straight face until he could get that guy out of the dealership. Mr. Champion needs someone to show him how to negotiate for a car!



    Quote Originally Posted by huntinman View Post
    He was said the five hour time to recharge the Volt was "annoying" and was also critical of the power of the Volt heating system.
    When you buy an electric vehicle, you know you have to charge the battery, so how could it be annoying to have to charge it? Thatís like saying having to put gas in your car is annoying. Most people will charge their vehicle overnight. So, did he wake up in the middle of the night feeling annoyed because his vehicle was still charging? Plus, he didnít have to wait for the vehicle to fully recharge if he needed to use it. Thatís the benefit of having the gas engine to provide electricity.

    Also, it takes 8 hours to recharge a fully depleted battery using a 120v household outlet. It takes less than 4 hours using a 240v outlet. What system was he charging on for it to take 5 hours?

    Iím not trying to convince anyone they should go out and buy a Volt. You should buy whatever vehicle fits your needs. The Volt certainly wonít the right fit everyone, but it could be a good vehicle for people that donít drive long distances during the week. My wife usually doesnít drive more than 30 mile in a day. Conceivably, she could go for weeks or even months without burning any gas.

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    Senior Member sandyg's Avatar
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    If I'm not going to drive more than 30 miles a day I'll buy a used car and save about $35,000.

    Electric cars aren't anywhere close to being viable and unlike an Iphone or Ipad they aren't much of a status symbol. More like a billboard for people with more money than brains. They'll get there, but it will be awhile before I consider buying one.

    Right now the hold-up is getting enough batteries. The plant is building about 4 vehicles per hour. GM has sold 1000 Volts to date and plan to build 120,000 next year. I will be very surprised if they sell anywhere near that number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyg View Post
    If I'm not going to drive more than 30 miles a day I'll buy a used car and save about $35,000.
    Like I said, Volt isnít for everyone. If it doesnít work for you, donít buy one. It doesnít fit my lifestyle, so Iím not buying one.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandyg View Post
    Right now the hold-up is getting enough batteries. The plant is building about 4 vehicles per hour. GM has sold 1000 Volts to date and plan to build 120,000 next year. I will be very surprised if they sell anywhere near that number.
    That is one reason GM built itís on battery plant to ensure they can get all the batteries they need. I donít know what the overall retail demand will be. Only time will tell. But, if they have the demand for more than 100,000 vehicles, they will find a way to build them.

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